Thank you for your interest in bringing students to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Our buildings are currently closed due to COVID-19, and we are uncertain about when we will open to the public again. If you would like to register your interest in scheduling a field trip when the NCAR Mesa Lab reopens, please fill out this form or email Tiffany Fourment, and we will contact you when we begin scheduling again.

Field Trip Planning Guide: FAQs | Reservation Checklist | Reserve Your Date | Preparing for a Field Trip | After Your Field Trip

Preparing for a field trip

The National Center for Atmospheric Research's field trip program would not be possible without the assistance of chaperones who accompany visiting groups. Along with teachers and program leaders, chaperones help ensure that the visit to NCAR is a success. We appreciate your support in supervising group members during the field trip! Below, you'll find information to help you prepare for your visit.

Click here for a printable Field Trip Information packet! (Google DOC)

Before your visit

  • Explore the UCAR and NCAR websites and watch the video, Air Planet People so that you can answer basic questions from students about the organization.
  • If you'll be driving, review the driving directions to the NCAR Mesa Lab. You can use this map (PDF) to help you locate your route from the parking lot into the lobby. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about your arrival.
    • Phone: 303.497.1126
    • Address: 1850 Table Mesa Dr., Boulder, CO 80305
  • We strongly recommend that chaperones avoid bringing their student's siblings. Your presence and availability to answer students’ questions during the field trip is very important!
  • To prepare for the field trip, make sure you have answers from the teacher or program leader to the following questions:
    • Are driving directions and parking information (PDF) available?
    • What is the date and time of departure for the field trip?
    • How many students will be in your group? Do any of them have special needs?
    • What are the behavior expectations during the field trip and what should be done if they are being ignored?
    • What is the scheduled length and itinerary for the field trip?
    • Will everyone be given a nametag?
    • Should I pack a lunch or should I expect to buy my lunch in NCAR's cafeteria?
    • Will the group be hiking during the field trip? If so, what is the appropriate attire and accessories? Will we need to bring sunscreen and water bottles?

Preparations on the day of your visit

  • Pack a few things that may be helpful in a pinch, such as tissues, a small first-aid kit, sunscreen, wipes, an umbrella, a camera, a watch, water, and a pen and paper.
  • Don't forget:
    • Your cell phone and any necessary phone numbers
    • Directions to NCAR's Mesa Lab, if driving
    • A list of students in your group
    • Any other information that the teacher/program leader has provided to chaperones
    • Money to purchase a lunch at NCAR or a sack lunch, if needed

During the Field Trip

After arriving at NCAR, have students leave their backpacks in the vehicle(s) and bring their lunches inside, if they'll be eating lunch at NCAR. Walk with the group to the building’s main entrance (PDF) and have students gather on the entrance rug while you check in with NCAR's receptionist.

Typically, a field trip to NCAR will last anywhere from two to four hours and include three to five distinct events including: a tour of the facility, a Science Learning Lab experience, time in the exhibits, and lunch. Check with your teacher/program leader for specifics about your visit.

Helpful tips for chaperones

  • Get to know the students in your care. Make sure that they also know who you are!
  • Let the students know that they can come to you with questions.
  • Be sure to communicate and enforce the behavorial expectations of the group.
  • Stay with your assigned students at all times and let them know they need to stay with you.
  • Model respectful and inquisitive behavior. Avoid distracting side discussions with other chaperones.
  • Encourage students to question, investigate, and talk about what they see and experience with each other, you, and Visitor Center staff.
  • When outside, encourage respect for nature and good observational skills on the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail.
  • Instruct all your students to go immediately to the NCAR Front Desk if lost or separated from the group. The front desk staff will escort the student back to their group promptly.
  • Middle school or younger students must be escorted to the restrooms. Coordinate with another chaperone so that both boys and girls have escorts.
  • Please turn off or mute your cell phone as a courtesy to others. We encourage using your phone to document the visit, but if you must take a call, please step outside of the classroom or away from the tour group.
  • Students are not allowed to use the cafeteria to buy drinks or lunch unless this has been previously arranged. If any students forget their lunch, please let us know so that food can be arranged.
  • Chaperones may use the cafeteria as long as another adult supervises their students while they do so.
  • Please help students use NCAR's recycling, composting, and trash bins. Visitor Program or Cafeteria staff are happy to assist you!

NCAR's student expectations

The following expectations will be reviewed with students. Please feel free to review with your students ahead of time, as well!

  • Because NCAR is a place of business, please use inside voices at all times, both inside and outside of the building.
  • Always walk while inside the building.
  • Stay with your chaperone and group during your visit.
  • If separated from your group, go to the NCAR Front Desk. The staff will help you find your group.
  • Questions are highly encouraged throughout the field trip! Please also explore the exhibits and the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail, respectfully and appropriately.
  • Most important of all: Have fun!